Patriots Face Rival For Third Time

The Patriots face the New York Jets for the third time this season. It's also the third time New England faces the Jets in the postseason. Kevin Saleeba takes a walk down memory lane, from the foot of Tony Franklin to the smash-mouth running style of Corey Dillon and now the no-name defense.

As the wildcard New York Jets head into Foxboro on Sunday to face the number one seed New England Patriots, it will mark the third playoff game between these longtime division rivals.

Ironically, the first time these two teams met in the playoffs, it was wildcard New England traveling to the Meadowlands on Dec. 28, 1985 to face the heavily favored Jets. This was also the first ever playoff game to ever be played at Giants Stadium.

The Patriots dominated the Jets by forcing 4 turnovers and 5 sacks. With the Jets up 7-3 in the second quarter, the Patriots scored 20 unanswered points capitalizing on Jets turnovers. After the Patriots got a Tony Franklin field goal late in the second quarter, safety Fred Marion intercepted a pass from Jets quarterback Ken O'Brien to set up 36-yard touchdown pass from Tony Eason to Stanley Morgan for 13-7 New England halftime lead.

Following another Franklin field goal in the third quarter, on the ensuing kickoff, Jets kick returner Johnny Hector was stripped by linebacker Johnny Rembert, who picked up the fumble and returned it 15 yards for a touchdown. The Patriots went on to win 26-14.

The 1985 New England Patriots would go on to be the first Wild Card team to win three straight road games to advance to the Super Bowl.

The second time these two franchises met in the playoffs was during the Wildcard round on Jan. 7, 2007. The Patriots would dominate the Jets with quarterback Tom Brady finishing with 22 of 34 passing for 212 yards and two touchdowns in the 37-16 New England victory.

The Patriots came out with a no-huddle offense and scored on their first drive, marching 65 yards on 10 plays. Running back Corey Dillon capped off the drive an 11-yard touchdown run.

New England Patriots LB R. Colvin (59) leans over New York Jets QB C. Pennington (10) Jan 7, 2007 (AP Photo/ Stephan Savoia)

After the Jets took a 10-7 second quarter lead following a Dillon fumble, the Patriots turned the tide with a Stephen Gostkowski field goal and a Brady to Daniel Graham 1-yard touchdown reception with 11 seconds left in the half for a 17-10 lead.

The Patriots broke the game open late in the third quarter when Jets quarterback Chad Pennington dropped back to pass and tossed the ball in the direction of receiver Jerricho Cotchery. When outside linebacker Rosevelt Colvin batted the ball down, nose tackle Vince Wilfork alertly picked up the loose ball and rumbled 31 yards to the Jets' 15-yard line. It was an odd play because many players on the field believed it was an incomplete pass, but the officials did not rule a forward pass.

The Patriots would go on to the AFC Championship game where they blew a 21-3 halftime lead against the Colts.

What will the third playoff chapter between these two division rivals be like? With the season series tied at 1-1 apiece and with the all-time records between the Jets and the Patriots tied at 51-51-1; the third playoff may be the best. Much like the first two meetings, whoever wins the turnover battle will win the game and a shot to go to the Super Bowl. Stay tuned!

Kevin Saleeba is a frequent contributor and columnist to Patriots Insider. A former beat writer for local media, Kevin has extensive knowledge of the team and experience covering the Patriots. Share your thoughts on this article, or send your questions to Kevin (here. )


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